Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sr Ardeth's September 16, 2011 for Y12 Action and Sentence

From: Jonah House <>

Date: Fri, Sep 23, 2011




Sister Jackie Hudson, Order of Preachers, was the next peacemaker

scheduled for sentencing, next Monday morning at 9:30. Her life was

given on August 3rd, 2011, her testimony complete, and it resounds

loudly and clearly, remaining with us and we are grateful.  Jackie,



Magistrate Guyton, we have been taught, have learned and believe that:


In these courts, justice should be rendered.


In these courts, prosecution for broken laws and policies regarding

cancer-causing radioactivity that     poisons soil, water, animal and

human life should be enforced.


In these courts, killing and threats to kill should be on trial.


In these courts “Deterrence” – intentional threats to kill massively

(i.e. triggers cocked at targeted nations) should be listed on trial

dockets as criminal.


In these state and federal courts Y 12 (along with Los Alamos and

Kansas City Nuclear Complexes) producing and processing uranium,

plutonium, materials and parts for nuclear weapons should be

prosecuted as crimes.


         Prosecutors, you have chosen instead to prosecute the Y 12

thirteen.  Your “in limine” motion to silence us at trial about

applicable Constitutional, Humanitarian, Customary, International laws

and treaties substantiating our action and motivation stripped us of

our defense.


         The probation officers chose to list for you some of my

nonviolent, symbolic, direct actions of civil resistance that were

designated points because of arbitrary arrests and incarcerations.

However, they too have eliminated the moral and legal ways and means

of my teaching and preaching truth about war and weapons, nor have

they recorded the reasons why I refuse to be silent.


So before sentencing I want to tell you more of my story.  Note that

it is violence, injustice and killing that move me to actions.  I

believe that nuclear weapons are the taproot of all violence and must

be abolished. Poverty and deprivation kill too.  Domestic and foreign

violence, injury to air, soil and water kills, massive killing in war

with conventional bombs and threats of actual use of nuclear weapons –

all are immoral, illegal and criminal.


So I refuse to be silent.


My stance is the same as my religious community of Dominican Sisters,

my intentional community of Jonah House and my Roman Catholic Church.

It is the same position taken by international law professors and

lawyers (like Charles Moxley who testified before you), the World

Court, Global Zero, Nobel Peace Laureates, many Admirals and Generals,

political leaders, scientists, organizations and millions of people

throughout the world.


We each in our own way refuse to be silent!


At four years of age, I/We in kindergarten were ordered to duck and

cover.  Our families were ordered to extinguish all lights for

blackouts in the entire city.  In those early years we were all

incorporated under the cloak of fear to participate in war.


At nine years of age my country obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as

you know, killing hundreds of thousands of people – innocent women,

men and children with “Little Boy” and “Fat Man”.  (Years later I have

had the privilege of being with and speaking at forums with the

Hibakusha who plead for a nuclear-free world also.)  The pictures of

their land and burnt dead make me weep.


At thirteen years of age my brother was accidently shot while deer

hunting.  What I recall was the sight of the open leg wound and its

difficult healing process.  It stirred in me images and awareness of

the maiming and killing in warfare.


In the early 50’s I entered college and then the Dominican Sisters

Community, preparing for a vowed life and teaching ministry.

Scripture, theology, social documents of the Church, secular studies,

the life and charism of Dominic, our founder – an itinerant preacher

of truth, along with many Dominican saints formed me and deepened my



Affected by and study of a nonviolent/loving God, a nonviolent Jesus,

giving his life rather than taking another’s life, all people made to

the image of God, one family of sisters and brothers in the world, to

become a Beatitude people, love God and neighbor as self, do good to

those who persecute you, forgive seventy times seven, hammer swords

into plowshares –all of these words/concepts took root in me. I would

never be the same because sacred life and creation became most



I found my voice, must speak out, must speak truth!


In the 60’s and 70’s, during the years of my educational ministries,

the “isms” became evident, focused and clearer to me. Racism was

prevalent so it was right and good to be part of the nonviolent civil

rights movement. Farmworkers were oppressed, so many of us joined

boycotts and marches with Cesar Chavez and workers. Sexism and

classism reflected the subjugation of women and the poorest and my

heart and eyes were opened to the need for education, empowerment and

organized efforts. For in each of these movements for justice, I saw

democracy in action and had to join it; it was the way to bring about

systemic change through legal, political and direct action.


I refused to be silent then and now!


Assigned to an Upward Bound program at our college as an

administrative assistant and to an inner city high school as principal

brought me face to face with killing. It was the time of turmoil,

riots and sniping in the streets of the cities. At the same time war

was escalating and raging in Vietnam. Militarism had a devastating

effect on domestic budgetary needs: education, food, shelter, health

care. African Americans, Hispanics, and people made poor challenged me

to walk by faith’s talk about preferential option with the poorest.

Some of our grads were coming back in body bags and some of our

students and family members were killed on the city’s war-zoned



We opened an Educational Center to drop outs, expellees and adults to

offer some hope and self-determination sessions during a dark time. I

participated in moratorium marches within the city and also in

Washington DC. My own conversion kept deepening.


My voice was not silent!


War is not peace. Basic human necessities are intended as a right for

all of God’s people. Hundreds of thousands of us were part of the

demonstrations…and the Vietnam War ended. But nuclear weapons

continued to be built. Each President, except Ford, threatened to use

them, from Truman to the present as weapons of mass destruction have

become more and more powerful.


We continued organizing – teaching conscientious objection, joining

thousands at the UN Disarmament Conference in New York City in 1978

and a million of us in 1982. Nearly 1800 were arrested at the five

nuclear weapon nation’s Embassies. In 1979 I was invited to the White

House with other religious leaders to examine the SALT treaty. As a

City Councilwoman I attended “Women for the Prevention of Nuclear War”

with Rosalyn Carter, Ellen Goodman, Coretta Scott King, Joanne

Woodward and numerous women leaders from every walk of life. As Mayor

Pro Tem of the city I voted at our California Conference with Mayors

for Peace for a Nuclear Freeze. Upon return from these urgent events

our Michigan Coalition developed, gained signatures, and placed on the

November 1982 ballot an Initiative banning nuclear weapons from our

state. It passed by a 56% vote of the people.


However, the federal government and Dept of Defense defied the will of

the people of Michigan by deploying and storing hundreds of nuclear

cruise missiles for B52’s at two  Strategic Air Command (SAC) Bases in

1983 and 1984. For the next twelve years, we prayed, studied,

organized, marched, demonstrated, lobbied and did legal, political,

and direct actions until every nuclear weapon was removed (1995) from

our state, which is a wonderland with fresh water lakes surrounding

it. At the same time we did all we could do to gain funds and

commitment to cleanup the serious contamination which we believe

caused cancer rates to escalate in the area.


I and others refused to be silent!


{As an interesting sideline, all of my arrests at these bases were for

trespass. In the city I served for years, the police were facing a

hostage situation – a veteran had collected a stash of guns and was

holding his wife hostage. The police requested me to come to defuse

the situation, so the man could be seized and given the mental health

care that he needed. There was no question about my trespassing to

stop a possible killing. I did so and it was successful. It is exactly

what we attempt to do each time we enter a nuclear site – to save

lives and stop the hostage-taking of other nations.}


During the 1980’s and 1990’s under the tutelage of lawyers, we learned

the laws of the United States applicable to nuclear weapons, war and

our own nonviolent actions. These experts: Francis Boyle, Kary Love,

Bill Durand, Richard Faulk, Bill Quigley, Peter Weiss, Bob Aldridge,

Ved Nanda, Lawyers for Prevention of Nuclear War, Anabel Dwyer, etc.

by their writings and testifying through the years substantiate the

illegality and crimes of governments and corporations and our duty and

responsibility to stop them.


A Coalition of Michigan peacemakers and lawyers led by Anabel Dwyer

developed the Nuremberg Campaign. Atty. Dwyer attended the sessions at

the Hague regarding the International Court of Justice report and

opinion of nuclear weapons being illegal in threatening to use or ever

using them. The Campaign included depositions, laws, procedures to be

taken to stop the SAC Base from illegal action. The briefs were

submitted to the Attorney General, two federal District Attorneys and

two county prosecutors. Day by day we offered leaflets at the SAC Base

to teach Air Force personnel that they must disobey any command

(according to their Field Manuals) to threaten use or to launch

nuclear weapons.


I refuse to be silent!


Lawyers who are experts in Law continue to teach us the pertinence of

the Constitution, Geneva, Hague, UN  Charter, Nuremberg Principles,

Poison Earth Treaty, World Court Decision, the Non Proliferation

Treaty – “with its obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a

conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its

aspects, under strict and effective international control.”


Nuclear weapons inflict indiscriminate and uncontrollable mass

destruction, violate fundamental rules and principles of humanitarian

law and threaten the existence of life itself.

I/We were informed that the replacement upgrades in targeting

capability of Trident D-5 missiles, W76 and W88 series are breaches of

Article VI of the NPT and signed agreements, therefore, the ongoing

production at Y12 Oak Ridge must be halted and total disarmament take



I refuse to be silent and joined in issuing the proclamation on July 5, 2010.


So I ask you now: Is it or is it not the duty to stop crimes? Is it

legal to defy treaties? Is it legal to kill civilians? Is it legal to

bomb counties at which no war has been declared? to torture? Is it

legal to threaten with nuclear weapons? Is it legal to occupy

countries and establish 1000 military bases on ¾ of the world’s

countries? Is it legal for the U.S. to divide the world into Command

Centers, controlling independent Continents? Is it legal to allow or

cause people to starve and be malnourished here and abroad? Is it

legal to sign treaties to total nuclear disarmament and not fulfill

them?  If it is legal, it is certainly not moral. My commitment has

been and is to put my mind, body, spirit and voice on lines to stop

war, weapons, and killing. I oppose all killing – by the pen, by guns,

by conventional and nuclear weapons. I refuse to be silent about

personal, societal, state and national murder. I refuse to be silent

regarding the lies told, the resources stolen, the crimes against

peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The universe, Earth,

creation and creatures are sacred, too magnificent to be destroyed.


You may wonder why I’m taking time to add the above material to the

record and my rap sheet. No doubt you have probably decided my

sentence before I spoke. I wanted you to know my convictions and

passion and what has led me to do what I do…not only civil resistance

and the promise to give my life for justice and peace.  I want to

invite you to be agents of change.


My question is – where are the courts and judges. Will any of you be

agents for change as were the courts in abolishing slavery, child

labor, gaining civil rights, women’s voting, unionization, and other

laws galore that had to be upheld and interpreted.  It is an urgent

time, a kairos moment, a key time in history – wherein abolition of

nuclear weapons is law. Let all of us go home to feed the poor and

serve God’s people! Never again bring to court nonviolent civil

resisters at Y12. Cases dismissed. Join the movement to stop weapons,

war and killing! Prosecutors – bring forth the cases of contamination

and radiation. Stop nuclear weapons and prosecute those breaking the

law. As Jackie would say, “Let’s all take another step outside our

comfort zone.” I trust and hope you will be the persons that will

someday do it.


Sentencing Statement by

Sister Ardeth Platte, O.P.

September 16, 2011 for Y12 Action



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